Dear Emma Willard Community,
Earlier in the month, we started a deliberate
with you--parents, board of directors, faculty, staff, and alumnae--about our current climate for healthy boundaries and historical accounts of sexual abuse.
As mentioned in our letter to the community, we are aware of past allegations. More specifically, the reported incidents are from the 1970s and the 1990s. These allegations have saddened all of us. A few members of our extended School community have expressed concern that these reported acts of abuse occurred recently. This is not the case. In fact, we are conducting an ongoing external investigation and there have not been any recent reports of abuse at Emma Willard School.
We want to alert you that we have learned that a news story may be published in the New York Daily News on the topic of sexual assault at Emma Willard School. We are informed that the news story concerns a report received by the School in April 2016 that a former student was sexually assaulted by a former teacher in 1998. The School is deeply troubled to learn of this report. We, the current administration, notified the local police department and are following school protocol with respect to its investigation and response to these allegations.
In 1998, the School was informed that a teacher was in violation of the School's long-standing policy against faculty/student relationships. The School abruptly ended the teacher's employment mid-semester. The School community was informed by the Emma Willard administration that this teacher had violated the School's boundaries of faculty/student interaction. The former School administration was unaware at the time of any allegation of sexual assault involving the teacher.
We continue to support our former students and alumnae in their decisions to come forward to report behaviors that violate their safety and share a public voice to their feelings and perspectives. We respect the privacy of any individual that comes forward, and will take immediate action to investigate all allegations that are brought to our attention thoroughly and follow required reporting guidelines.
We ask our community to understand that the School cannot address publicly the details of any particular situation. The School's policy is and has been to hold only School personnel responsible for the School's boundary expectations. We will continue our conversations with those who come forward.
Emma Willard School is a respected advocate for women's issues. This is your school. We appreciate all of the feedback and support we continue to receive from the Emma Willard community in response to the June 8 letter, and in general. Like you, we are proud of our school and believe in our mission. Know that we are committed to ongoing dialogue around healthy boundaries and the health and safety of our current, former and future Emma girls. We are dedicated to the thorough investigation of any report of sexual misconduct on campus, and we will continue to evaluate and enhance what we do and how we do it for the benefit of our community.
Please contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns.